Net Neutrality2This month, Kim Keenan, President and CEO of The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC), spoke on the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) CLE Seminar panel, “Understanding Net Neutrality and the Path Ahead,” moderated by former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell.

The panel discussion focused on the recent FCC Open Internet Order’s impact on the telecommunications ecosystem and consumers, particularly those from vulnerable populations that include the economically challenged, seniors, and the disabled.

Keenan shared MMTC’s concerns about the regulatory overreach and lack of flexibility of using Title II of the Communications Act to regulate the Internet.  [click to continue…]

MMTC Policy Meeting April 28thUpdatedUPDATE: Speaker change. Please see below for updated speakers list.

Please join the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) as we welcome The Honorable Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and a host of expert discussants to delve into recent data on broadband adoption, efforts to narrow the digital divide, and current obstacles and opportunities to create public policies that advance digital inclusion.

Strategies for Addressing Broadband Adoption Challenges: Once and for All
Tuesday, April 28, 2015

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Davis Wright Tremaine, 1919 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC
Lunch Will Be Served
Please RSVP here by Friday, April 27th.

Keynote Remarks: The Honorable Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
Research Update: John Horrigan, Ph.D., Senior Researcher, Pew Research Project  [click to continue…]

Silicon HarlemThere has been a lot of focus lately – and rightfully so – on the gaping employment disparity between whites and minorities in Silicon Valley.  There is a relative dearth of minorities focusing on STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – fields in general, and this means millions of would-be innovators are locked out of the boundless opportunities available to lead and create in today’s technology-driven society.

What we don’t hear about are the success stories, and the revolutions that are occurring across the country, taking tech out of the Valley and instead bringing it directly to local communities.  Many major cities across the nation now feature hubs for digital startups, including in diverse communities.  Entrepreneurs Clayton Banks and Bruce Lincoln have created another such hub in the heart of Harlem – and new technology hubs like Silicon Harlem are transforming communities in more ways than you would think.  [click to continue…]

National Broadband Plan Five Years and BeyondLast month, the nation celebrated the fifth anniversary of the National Broadband Plan, a heralded assignment by the Federal Communications Commission to develop a comprehensive blueprint for technology advancement, broadband deployment, and broadband adoption.  At a recent day-long conference hosted by Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, “The National Broadband Plan: Looking Back, Reaching Forward,” policy experts reviewed the Plan’s goals and accomplishments, and shared strategies for addressing those areas not yet achieved.

The bottom line: The National Broadband Plan has come a long way in five years, but not surprisingly, there’s still more work that needs to be done to make the U.S. broadband landscape even more competitive. [click to continue…]

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 14, 2015):  Comcast recently announced plans to roll out Gigabit Pro, a 2 Gbps service that will bring the fastest Internet speeds in the nation to the entire Atlanta metropolitan area, covering 1.5 million people. The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) applauds this full market rollout as an example that innovative broadband service can be expanded without engaging in “redlining,” which is the practicing of selectively serving what companies perceive to be the “best” or most lucrative neighborhoods.

MMTC has long criticized carriers who refuse to build and serve lower-income communities on the same terms as wealthier communities.  Some companies have rolled out gigabit-speed service in major metropolitan areas but cut out or postponed service to low-income communities that are heavily comprised of minorities.  [click to continue…]

Keenan HonigNext week, MMTC President and CEO Kim Keenan, along with MMTC Co-Founder and President Emeritus David Honig, will be honored at separate events for their lifetimes of advocacy in the nexus of civil rights and the law.

On March 18th, Lawyers of Color will induct Keenan into its fourth annual Power List, which recognizes the nation’s most influential minority attorneys and non-minority legal diversity advocates. That same night, the National Urban League will present Honig with its second annual Civil Rights Partner Organization Champion Award for his “untiring work as a champion in fighting for justice and social change.” [click to continue…]

Diversity in TechEvery day, businesses across America struggle to fill technology jobs such as Web design, user interface, and software development.  Yet millions of individuals struggle to find work, especially African Americans and Hispanics, who are often at double the unemployment rate of whites.  Through the White House’s new TechHire Initiative, President Obama has issued a national call-to-action to close the jobs and skills gap to move more Americans to the middle class through “high-quality, job-driven training.”

Yesterday, Business Forward, a national advisory group for businesses, held a conference call on TechHire with several White House representatives to discuss the initiative more in-depth. Representatives on the call included Jeff Zients, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and Megan Smith, U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President to discuss the initiative more in-depth.  [click to continue…]

BBSJ Summit Net Equality Digital Redlining Panel - by Jason Miccolo JohnsonJust as if a time machine has transported us all back to the civil rights era, the American people are under attack.  The nation is fraught with a history of racial redlining, and in today’s technology-driven world, we are facing a new crisis: digital redlining.

MMTC President Emeritus David Honig moderated a panel at MMTC’s 2015 Broadband and Social Justice Summit titled, “Net Equality: Working to Achieve Universal Broadband Access and Adoption and End Digital Redlining.”  Honig defined digital redlining as the refusal to build out broadband infrastructure to some neighborhoods on the same terms as other neighborhoods, thus reducing the competition and opportunity available to people because of the neighborhood they live in.

The term “redlining” was coined in the 1960s, describing the practice of denying or charging more for service to persons in certain communities, usually Black, inner-city neighborhoods, no matter how qualified the individual.  The banking industry, among others, would physically draw red lines on a map to outline the areas they were not willing to serve.  As a consequence of redlining, neighborhoods that local banks deemed unfit for investment were left underdeveloped and in despair.  With an absence of employment opportunities in these neighborhoods because prospective employers were now unwilling to locate there, it was common for crime to follow, causing a rapid decline of these neighborhoods. Thus, future investment became less likely and created a cycle that created a justification for the initial redlining. [click to continue…]

The following article is Part 2 of a two-part series.

MediaImagesMatter PanelFor decades – in fact, since the inception of mainstream media as we know it – diverse communities have been portrayed in a negative light, leading to negative perceptions in society and consequent negative treatment by policymakers and law enforcement officials.

Yet, there is hope – thanks to the Internet, communities of color have the power to change the tone of their portrayals in the media.  Pic.tv released the webseries “Los Americans” and “Diary of a Single Mom” just a few years ago, and Issa Rae followed shortly thereafter with “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl” on YouTube.  Today, webseries featuring diverse casts abound, and the mainstream media has now released a slew of new shows that focus on diverse communities and, finally, portray them in a positive light.

At the Broadband and Social Justice Summit panel “#MediaImagesMatter: The Combined Effects of Traditional and New Media in Perpetuating Stereotypes of People of Color,” panelists focused heavily on what we can do as communities to become creators, tell our own stories, and change the way people of color are characterized in the media.  [click to continue…]

Workplace Diversity - Google Creative CommonsThis revolution will definitely not be televised.

When Intel announced that it would spend $300 million over the next five years to create a workforce that actually looks like America, the coverage of the announcement was scant.

Here, we have a real game changer, and the faint praise of Intel CEO Brian Krzanich’s decision to establish a $300 million dollar “Diversity in Tech” initiative – or Jesse Jackson’s efforts at prodding the industry – is almost as bad as the conditions that created the need for the fund in the first place.

Almost.

By stepping up and leading tech companies out of the same old thinking about how to create a diverse workforce, Intel is opening the door for others in the tech world to ensure that the age of innovation looks like all of America.

Last month, Apple included two established minority-owned firms in its $6.5 billion debt offering, which was the largest high-grade corporate bond sale this year – until Microsoft followed with a $10.75 billion debt offering that included four minority-owned firms. This is the kind of action befitting the companies in the vanguard of changing the world we live in.

The business case is clear. People of color and women are among the highest consumers of all things tech. And there are too many of us to be ignored.  [click to continue…]